In 2009, Christian rock band Third Day was inducted into the Georgia Hall of Fame. For anyone who has followed the band’s career since it formed in 1992, it was no surprise, as lead singer Mac Powell, guitarist Mark Lee, drummer David Carr and bassist Tai Anderson have reached heights few in Christian rock have ever seen.
The Marietta, Ga.-based band has sold more than nine million records, won four Grammys, taken home 25 GMA Dove Awards, was a victor at the American Music Awards, and recorded 17 No. 1 hit songs. Billboard Magazine also named the band one of the top 10 Christian bands of the last decade and Third Day had five of the top 50 Christian songs of the decade, as well.
“Our mission and vision is so much bigger than just trying to have a career. We’re not trying to be just musicians; there’s a calling and a ministry to what we do,” Carr said. “At the end of the day, that’s where true success will be measured — how we carried the torch and the lives we affected by our music. I feel like in the end, the people we have touched will mean more than the Grammys and other awards.”
Third Day came together when Powell and Lee were playing at their local church on the same night as the Bullard Family Singers, which Carr and Anderson were members of at the time. Just 18 at the time, Carr auditioned in his family basement and knew there was something special there.
“I just felt very confident very quickly that it had something to it,” he said. “They were showing me these songs they had written and it was all really good. A year or two into this we knew it had legs and it quickly started taking off. It’s amazing to think this little garage band blew up into what it’s become.”
Once its self-titled debut album hit the airwaves in 1996, Christian rock had a new “it” band, and two decades later Third Day still is considered one of the top groups in the genre, as songs like “Show Me Your Glory,” “I Believe,” “Cry Out to Jesus,” “Mountain of God,” “Call My Name” and “Trust in Jesus” inspired and uplifted audiences around the world.
The band will head to George Mason University’s Patriot Center on Feb. 21 to kick off a 45-city tour in support of its newest album, “Miracle.”
“This will be the kickoff show and we’re all going to be in for a surprise, even the band, but we worked out a show with some new arrangements to come up with something fresh and new,” Carr said. “It can be very easy to rest on your laurels when you’ve been doing this as long as we have, but I think we have a lot of fans who have been to a number of shows and it’s always nice to give them something a little different.”
“Miracle” is the band’s 12th album, and they enlisted the help of producer Brendan O’Brien, best known for his work with top stars like Bruce Springsteen, Pearl Jam and Train. As with past albums, the songs offer a rich musical and emotional landscape.
A highlight of the album is Third Day’s beautiful cover of “Morning Has Broken,” a Cat Stevens classic of a vintage Methodist hymn. Expect the song to find its way to the Patriot Center stage.
“Our latest song that went number 1 is called ‘I Need a Miracle,’ and we recognize that there is so much baggage that comes into every building we play each night and unspoken hurts and pain; serious stuff people are dealing with,” Carr said. “We’re going to talk about miracles but our message for the night is that Jesus Christ loves them as they are, not as they ought to be, and he wants to embrace them, and only there can they find joy and peace. We hope to encourage that in a new and fresh way.”
At the concert, Third Day will welcome “American Idol” finalist Colton Dixon and singer-songwriter Josh Wilson as special guests.